The brewery saver: thinner crown corks for South America
Franz Dirrigl, who works in technical customer support in thyssenkrupp’s tinplate operations in Andernach, says: “The thinnest crown corks in the world come from Peru.” This is no empty boast; he can prove it. At 0.17 mm, the caps are approximately 20 percent thinner than the standard 0.22 millimeter thickness. “That may not seem like much for a single cap, but the difference is enormous in larger quantities,” says Dirrigl. It means savings on materials, lower costs, and, last but not least, reduced CO2 emissions.
But why Peru, of all places? “Ten years ago, we were considering how we could increase the competitiveness of our tinplate products,” says Sales Manager Miguel Valdivia. “Our customer Packing Peru was ready to support us in this endeavor from the outset.” The easiest solution was to reduce costs by using less material. But as the sheet gets thinner, it becomes weaker. In order to ensure that the crown corks were stable, a stronger steel grade was required.
In the meantime, the product has established itself on the South American continent and is being used by almost every major brewery. European manufacturers were hesitant at first, but thinner caps are now becoming a trend here as well, primarily as a result of pressure from large, international beer corporations. Of the 100,000 tons of tinplate produced by thyssenkrupp Rasselstein each year for crown cork production, a third is already being made from the thinner material. And so the thinnest crown corks in the world also come partly from Andernach. (fh)